Damp proofing is a term used to describe the various treatments that can be applied to prevent damp occurring in both domestic and commercial properties. If there is no damp proofing in place or if it has not been correctly installed or the damp proof course has been damaged in some way, then there is no barrier to protect the walls and the floors from water ingress.
What is damp proofing?
Damp proofing is a long term solution for preventing internal moisture which can lead to a series of complicated and potentially hazardous issues within the property.
During construction, a protective damp proof barrier in the form of a plastic membrane or slate material is normally installed into the base of the walls. Known commonly as a ‘damp proof course’ this solution prevents any damp from rising through the fabric wall to ensure that damp problems don’t arise further down the line.
It is easier to prevent damp than it is to treat it which is why correct damp proofing is so crucial. Lack of or inadequate damp proofing will inevitably lead to problems within the property that if left untreated are likely to result in extensive and costly restorations.
Types of Damp
There are 3 main types of damp – rising damp, penetrating damp and condensation.
Rising damp – caused by groundwater making its way up through the base of the property, rising damp isn’t always easy to spot. However it can cause a noticeably musky smell and typically causes patches above the skirting and misshapen floor boards.
Penetrating damp – the main indicators include blotchy patches on walls and water marks or staining as well as crumbling plaster, fungus or mould. Penetrating damp can occur for a number of reasons from a leaking roof and overflowing gutters to ill-fitting windows and faulty flashing.
Condensation – one of the most common types of damp this is more prevalent during the winter months due to the use of central heating and windows kept shut resulting in a build up of humidity combining with a lack of ventilation. Steamed windows, damp patches, peeling wallpaper, puddles on window sills and water running down walls are classic signs of condensation damp which are often accompanied by black spot mould.
Property issues caused by damp
Signs of damp can differ depending on the type but here’s some example of issues caused by damp;
- Mould or mildew forming on walls, windows and surfaces
- A damp and musty smell
- Dark / discoloured patches on the walls
- Stained or peeling wallpaper and blistering paint
- Discoloured or fragmented plaster
- Decayed timber (fungi or weevils)
- Signs of rust on screws or angle beads within skirting or plaster work
- Salt staining on exterior walls
- Crumbled mortar on property exterior
Keeping your family healthy
As well as causing numerous unpleasant cosmetic and structural issues to properties – damp can also have a severe detrimental effect on the health of those occupying it. These can be caused by not just inadequate damp proofing but poor ventilation, structural defects and condensation.
Individuals that live in homes with damp and mould present are much more likely to suffer from allergic reactions, respiratory infections and breathing problems such as asthma, bronchitis and other lung issues.
High quality, professional damp proofing ensures that both your home and your family are protected against the potentially harmful build ups of moisture.
If your London property is showing signs of damp don’t delay. A high quality and professionally executed damp proof course provides a long term solution for moisture decay and prevents water and moisture from reaching interior spaces and ensure that your property remains dry and damp free.